With so many skincare products available on the market, finding an effective routine can feel overwhelming. While it’s no secret that the right products are key to healthy skin, the importance of how to apply skin care products is often overlooked.
To get the most out of your skincare routine, the order and technique you apply these products are crucial. Allie Summers, Medical Aesthetician at Tribeca MedSpa, says “a daily skincare routine is crucial to enhancing your treatment results.” Below are expert medical providers created a step-by-step guide for how to apply your skincare products to get the best results and to help you love your reflection even more.
Step 1: Cleanse the Skin and Pat Dry
You should always start your skincare routine with properly cleansed skin. A medical-grade cleanser will remove any makeup, dirt, debris, and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural oils and hydration. Proper cleansing reduces future breakouts and allows for better penetration of the other products that come next in your routine.
Simply massage a small amount of cleanser onto a wet face and neck. You’ll want to cleanse twice daily, once in the morning and once at night. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry, not rub. Rubbing with a towel can cause irritation, and over the years, can contribute to the decrease in skin elasticity. Around your eyes specifically, rubbing increases the chances of dark spots forming.
- Dry skin: Replenishing Cleanser
- Oily/Acne-prone skin: LHA Cleanser Gel
- Anti-aging: Glycolic Renewal Cleanser
- Pregnant/hormonal skin: Gentle Cleanser
- Hyperpigmentation: Glycolic Renewal Cleanser
Step 2: Use a Quality Skin Toner
Using a toner after cleansing will remove any remaining residue on the face, leaving your skin feeling clean and refreshed. This can also help reduce the appearance of pores, even skin tone, and soothe the skin. Today’s toners no longer contain high concentrations of alcohol, which can be drying; toner formulations now contain nourishing ingredients that help balance the skin.
The best way to apply toner is by using a small amount of product on a cotton ball or cotton pad. Soak the pad or ball with toner and gently wipe it around your face from your T-zone outward. With toners a little goes a long way so start off with a small amount and ad more if needed.
Use the cotton ball to gently apply to the face, neck, and chest. Repeat up to twice daily on dry skin after cleansing.
- Dry skin: Rose Water/ Equalizing Toner
- Oily/Acne-prone skin: LHA Solution Toner
- Anti-aging: Rose Water / Equalizing Toner
- Pregnant/hormonal: Rose Water
- Hyperpigmentation: Rose Water
Step 3: Apply Face Serum
Once your skin has been thoroughly cleansed, a good rule is to layer corrective products and moisturizers from thinnest to thickest. “Applying skincare products in the correct order of application ensures their maximum efficacy,” says Allie. This will allow for the thinner products, such as serums, to better penetrate the skin before applying thicker products—like moisturizers.
Serums are lightweight products that contain a high concentration of active ingredients. Due to their lightweight nature, they can be easily layered. Always start with an antioxidant serum and allow it to fully absorb into the skin before layering additional serums and products.
To apply, massage 3-4 drops in the palm of your hands. Tap onto the skin and then blend in an outward motion, continuing down the neck and chest. Set the product by pressing the product into the skin with palms.
Remember to tap the products onto the skin and avoid rubbing, which pulls at the skin and can lead to signs of premature aging.
- Dry skin: Ce Ferulic / Hydrating B5 Gel
- Oily/Acne-prone skin: Silymarin CF Serum / Blemish & Age Defense / Hydrating B5 Gel
- Anti-aging: CE Ferulic / A. Intensifier / Resveratrol BE
- Pregnant/hormonal: CE Ferulic / Hydrating B5 Gel / A. Intensifier / Discoloration Defense
- Hyperpigmentation: Discoloration Defense / Phloretin CF
Step 4: Moisturize your Face
Regardless of the type of skin you have, a quality moisturizer is key to maintaining healthy skin. Properly hydrated skin will reduce the appearance of aging and improve elasticity, skin fullness, and texture. Depending on your skin type, you may opt for two different products – one for daytime and one for overnight. Overnight products tend to be thicker and more powerful than their daytime alternatives.
Apply a small amount of moisturizer between your fingertips. Massage the product between your hands and apply to the face, neck, and chest. Your cheeks are typically the driest part of the face (this varies depending on skin type), so while you have the most product on your hands, start here, then tackle the forehead, nose and T-zone, then chin, neck and ears. When applying, make sure to avoid tugging and pulling downward on the face and neck skin. Use a gentle hand, and make sure you are always lifting the skin—never dragging it down – using light, gentle upward strokes.
Repeat twice daily to maintain proper hydration.
- Dry skin: Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 / Epidermal Repair
- Oily/Acne-prone skin: Metacell Renewal B3 / Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight
- Anti-aging: Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 / G.E. Interrupter
- Pregnant/hormonal: Metacell Renewal B3 / Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
- Hyperpigmentation: Metacell Renewal B3 / Advanced Pigment Corrector
Step 5: Apply Medical-Grade Face Sunscreen (Morning)
Sunscreen is a commonly overlooked step in many skincare routines, especially in non-summer months; however, it’s crucial to block the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays and reduce premature aging. To get proper protection without clogging your pores, a medical-grade face sunscreen should be utilized—regardless of the weather or time of the year.
Sun exposure is the number one source of premature aging. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun damages DNA cells, causing pigmentation changes, fine lines and loss of skin elasticity. The sun’s UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and result in a breakdown of collagen, the building block of healthy, firm skin. UVB rays also penetrate the skin’s layers on a more superficial level and can result in skin pigmentation and sunspots.
In the morning, apply sunscreen to the palm of your hand and massage. Pat onto the skin and then blend with an outward motion, continuing down the neck and chest. Reapply before exposure to the sun and every 2 hours.
- Dry skin: Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
- Oily/Acne-prone skin: Physical Matte UV Defense
- Anti-aging: Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
- Pregnant/hormonal: Daily Brightening UV Defense
- Hyperpigmentation: Daily Brightening UV Defense
Creating and Maintaining Your Best Possible Skin
“An effective skincare routine can address a number of concerns, reducing acne, minimizing pores, smoothing lines and fading sun spots,” adds Allie. While creating a custom routine tailored to your skin type can feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Tribeca MedSpa’s expert medical providers are here to help with complimentary in-person and virtual skin and product consultations to help you achieve your best skin.